Some random thoughts after the Razorbacks’ rain-soaked loss at home to Texas A&M.
- It’s been a while since we have been encouraged by a loss, much less a 12-point loss. But the Hogs hung in there, forcing the Aggies to punt four times. They only committed one penalty and, with Brandon Allen back, showed a credible passing attack. All that bodes well for the rest of the season.
- Two true freshman offensive linemen got their first starts as Razorbacks. Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland took the spots of Brey Cook and Mitch Smothers at both guard spots. Both performed well, opening nice holes and keeping Allen clean in his return. Cook played some snaps at right tackle, as offensive line coach Sam Pittman continues to experiment with combinations.
- Freshman tight end Hunter Henry flashed his big-play abilities Saturday night. Henry got deep several times on the Aggies, catching four passes for 109 yards including a 52-yarder at the end of the first quarter. He has showed great hands and the ability to catch it in traffic.
- Give the fans credit. Despite the stormy weather before kickoff and the rain in the second half, the Fayetteville crowd was lively and active all night. Maybe it was the 1,006 combined total yards. Or maybe it was all the smoke from the fireworks that lingered in the stadium and provided a ’1980′s disco fog machine’ effect. Regardless, had the Hogs ever been able to take the lead, the place might have imploded.
- All jokes aside, the Aggies ran the ball way too effectively to control the second half. Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash played three defensive ends — at the same time — for a large part of the game to try and spur the Hogs pass rush. To counter that, A&M ran the ball successfully 29 times for 150 yards after halftime.
- The early third quarter pick-six interception by Brandon Allen hurt mightily. The gift touchdown wasn’t a bad read by Allen, but he was late delivering the slant pass to Keon Hatcher. The interception was one of three missed chances in the second half to take the lead.
- Razorback Stadium went nuts when Johnny Manziel was sacked by Chris Smith and Deatrich Wise Jr. In fact, when Johnny came falling down late in the second quarter, it was as loud as we heard it all night. So what was ugly about that? Well…Wise needs to thank his lucky stars that the refs were turned around and didn’t see his NFL-quality sack dance. A 15-yard penalty would’ve given A&M a first down and nullified a great defensive play. Channel that energy, big fella…and go celebrate with your teammates next time.
Of course, we can’t possibly mention everything that was “Good, Bad and Ugly.” What did we leave out?
TipsterHog also contributed to this post.